Sunday June 7th, 2020 5:25AM

Claxton leads in scoring and rebounding, Georgia tops UMass

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ATHENS (AP) — Getting off to a fast start has not been the problem for Georgia's basketball team. Sustaining the effort? That has been something altogether different.

Paced by 20 points and 11 rebounds from Nicolas Claxton, the Bulldogs started fast and stayed with it in a 91-72 win over Massachusetts Sunday.

"We try to stress a fast start," said Coach Tom Crean, "but I tell our guys it is not how many points you score, but how well you defend and how well you rebound. I am proud of the fact we never lost the lead. Winning is huge, but improving while you win is even better."

Rayshawn Hammonds chipped in 18 points and eight rebounds in the final tuneup for Georgia (8-4) before Southeastern Conference play begins. Tyree Crump came off the bench to score 14.

Massachusetts (7-6) got 22 points from Luwane Pipkins. Jonathan Laurent added 11 and Rashaan Holloway 10.

The Bulldogs bolted to a 12-2 lead in the opening moments and did not allow a Minuteman rebound until the 14:19 mark when Laurent corralled a missed Georgia shot.

"I was not aware of that," said Crean. "That is really good. I like rebounding with two hands. You are not going to get one-handed rebounds in this league. It is a high-level league."

Crean was speaking of the SEC, which has four teams currently ranked in the top 25, including No. 3 Tennessee, the Bulldogs' next opponent.
Georgia dominated the Minutemen in rebounding, 43-27. UMass also struggled on offense, hitting only 4 of 22 from the 3-point line, an 18-percent rate. The Minutemen came in shooting 38 percent from long range.

"Yeah, we just couldn't ever get momentum there as far as shooting the ball from the high 3-point line," said UMass coach Matt McCall. "That doesn't happen most nights for our basketball team, and I thought that really, really hurt us, the ball not going into the basket the first half."

"To hold them to 18 percent from the 3-point line and to outrebound them by 16 was great," said Crean.

The Bulldogs shot well: 54 percent from the floor, 42 percent from behind the 3-point line, and 87 percent on free throws.

The first-half lead got as big as 23-10 after a corner 3 by Hammonds with 10:40 to go. But Samba Diallo sparked UMass on an 8-0 run with a backdoor layup and a putback, closing the gap to 23-18 with 8:27 to go.

Georgia's long-range game late in the half, built a 43-32 halftime lead as Claxton, Crump, and Hammonds all hit 3s, the last a fall away from the corner with just five seconds left in the half.

Massachusetts scored the first basket of the second half to briefly close the margin to single digits, but that was the last time.
Georgia was never seriously threatened and gradually built its lead. The final 19-point spread was as big as it got.


UMass: Massachusetts was outrebounding its opponents in its first 12 games, but the Minutemen were no match inside for Georgia. They did not have a single rebound for nearly six minutes. UMass also failed to shoot up its standards. Luwane Pipkins' driving layups were the one highlight in the game.

Georgia: The Bulldogs have shown a propensity for building big leads only to let them evaporate, as in a 76-74 loss to Arizona State, and in last week's 70-59 win over Georgia Tech. But the collapse never came in this game as Georgia held a comfortable lead throughout.


Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh attended the game Sunday, one day after the Wolverines lost to Florida in the Peach Bowl, 41-15. "I have not seen him yet," Crean said of his brother-in-law after the game. "That was a tough game he had yesterday. Jim is hurting after that game. But it is great that the (Baltimore) Ravens won and are in the playoffs." John Harbaugh coaches the Ravens.


Georgia has played two ranked teams so far this year, losing to both Clemson and Arizona State. But the next one will be Tennessee on its home floor. Crean was asked if Georgia was ready. "Probably not, but I am looking forward to it. You control what you can control," he said.

"They don't have any weak points. Your fundamentals have to grow. When you are playing an outstanding coach (Rick Barnes)_and he is a hall of fame coach_your margin of error goes way down. You can't have a ton of slippage."


While it was the first visit for UMass to Athens, it was a return visit for two Minutemen. Center Djery Baptiste played 10 minutes against Georgia in 2017, and also twice last year at other locales, before transferring from Vanderbilt as a graduate student. He managed to score 2 points Saturday, his high against Georgia. This was his first game he was eligible. "I think he's a presence on the backboard," McCall said. "He can really rebounds the ball. You look down at the stat sheet; he plays 13 minutes and gets five rebounds, is 1-for-2 from the field. He's energetic and brings endless amounts of energy."

Forward Randall West was in Athens Nov. 17 as the third-team quarterback on the football team that lost to Georgia 66-27. So far, he has been simply a tourist in Athens, as he did not play in either game.


Massachusetts begins Atlantic 10 play at home Saturday against LaSalle.
Georgia opens Southeastern Conference play with the difficult assignment of traveling to Knoxville, Tennessee, to play the No. 3 ranked Volunteers Saturday.


© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Former GHS standout Thacker hired as new Georgia Tech DC
Former Gainesville High standout Andrew Thacker was named the new defensive coordinator by new new Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins Monday...
9:28PM ( 3 months ago )
Pacers beat Hawks for 5th consecutive victory
Myles Turner scored 20 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked four shots in less than 24 minutes Monday, helping to lead the Indiana Pacers past Atlanta 116-108 before breaking his nose midway through the third quarter...
9:17PM ( 3 months ago )
PODCAST: Hard Left Turn with Brandon Reed and Pete McCole (12-31-18)
As we get ready to throw the checkered flag on the holiday season - and on 2018 - the Around The Track crew has worked to bring a little taste of Georgia Racing History...
8:00PM ( 3 months ago )
Peach Bowl: Gators rout Michigan 41-15 to cap comeback year
Lamical Perine's 2 TDs help No. 10 Florida crush No. 8 Michigan 41-15 in Peach Bowl
5:55PM ( 3 months ago )
Minnesota runs past Georgia Tech 34-10 in Quick Lane Bowl
Mohamed Ibrahim took full advantage of holes his teammates created to burst through the line or get to the outside.
10:26PM ( 3 months ago )
Ga Tech aims to send Johnson out as winner against Minnesota
Paul Johnson simply wants some time off. First things first, though: The 61-year-old coach will lead Georgia Tech for the final time Wednesday against Minnesota in the Quick Lane Bowl...
11:30AM ( 3 months ago )
College Sports
Dogs close out regular season with another rough defeat
Chris Silva had 24 points and 10 rebounds as South Carolina beat Georgia 66-46 on Saturday assuring the Gamecocks a double-bye into the quarterfinals of next week's Southeastern Conference Tournament...
By The Associated Press
3:25PM ( 1 month ago )
Georgia's comeback bid falls short
Despite an energetic second-half comeback, Georgia fell to Ole Miss, 72-71, on Saturday afternoon on the road...
By AccessWDUN Staff
7:12PM ( 1 month ago )
Weatherspoon's late FT lifts Mississippi State past Georgia
Quinndary Weatherspoon sank one of three free throws with the game on the line, giving him a career-high 31 points and lifting Mississippi State to a 68-67 win over Georgia on Wednesday night...
By The Associated Press
10:54PM ( 1 month ago )
Jones with 20 helps Arkansas beat Georgia 70-60
Arkansas guard Mason Jones scored 20 points and added five rebounds to help his team fend off Georgia 70-60 on Tuesday night.
By The Associated Press
10:08PM ( 2 months ago )
Crump, Hightower, Claxton shoot Dogs past Texas
Tyree Crump scored 21 points while setting a career high with six 3-pointers and Georgia enjoyed its best-shooting game of the season to beat Texas 98-88 on Saturday in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge...
By The Associated Press
4:42PM ( 2 months ago )